Local and state law enforcement will be on hand to communicate with residents

SOUTH CHESTERFIELD — The Lord’s Church Baptist is hosting the first of two "Community & Law Enforcement Town Halls and Outreach Services". The three-night series began began Wednesday and continues through Friday, 7 p.m. each night. The Community & Law Enforcement Town Halls and Outreach Services are being held at The Lord's Church, Baptist, located at 20905 3rd Ave.

Each evening representatives of local or state law enforcement will be on hand to talk with the community. The town halls provide a forum where the community and police can express their thoughts and concerns.

On Wednesday, representatives of the Chesterfield County Police Department talked with audience members.

On Thursday, representatives of the Chesterfield County Sheriff Office are scheduled to attend and on Friday, special guests will be representatives of the Virginia State Police.

The purpose of the town halls is to help bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community.

A worship service follows the town hall each night.

The town halls and worship services are open to the public.

For more than 15 years now, The Lord’s Church and Chesterfield County Police Department have worked together to build relationships between the community and police at the church's annual Community Day. These events have hosted and honored not only people in the community but also officers in a variety of branches at all levels to include: Virginia State Police, Colonial Heights Police, Chesterfield County Police, and more.

While those events have addressed the concerns and needs of both the community and police, the rise in officer involved shootings and community involved shootings against officers this year prompted The Lord's Church Pastor Howard Moses and Police Captain A.J. Starks to organize this special Community and Law Enforcement town hall conversation.

Pastor Moses is hoping the community will be as receptive to this week's town hall services as they have at past events sponsored by The Lord's Church, that brought law enforcement and the community together. He said citizens, community activists, teachers, and others have attended past events and spoken freely with police representatives about their concerns. Pastor Moses said people discussed stereotypes based on race, neighborhoods, and profiling based on stereotypes (the clothes people where, cars they drive, etc).

“Community has children and teenagers and police have children and teenagers. When we go to work in the morning, we want to come home at night and when police go to work, they want to come home at night," said Pastor Moses during a prior gathering of community and law enforcement. "... We all have to give a total commitment; a total commitment to treating each other with dignity and respect and a total commitment to making sure crime prevention is the order of the day.”